Last Thursday, Adrian Peterson appeared on ESPN’s First Take and dropped some news. He said that he would like to stay in Minnesota, but would he be cut, he would look at teams such as the Giants or Buccaneers. Those teams have good defenses, good scheme and a chance to win a ring.
Good for Adrian for taking a look out there, because if one thing is clear, the $18 million the Vikings owe him is way too much.
This introduces the argument on whether veteran players deserved to be paid for what they have historically done for their organization, or if they should be paid for what they will be doing.
By siding with the former argument, it would make sense for that $18 million to be paid, or even a small decrease to $15 million or so. There is no doubting what AP means to the Vikings and to Minnesota as a whole. The MVP season in 2012 will be one of the best in Viking’s history. In each of his first seven seasons, he had double digit touchdowns. In all but one of those years, he had over 1,000 yards.
The MVP season in 2012 will be one of the best in Viking’s history. In each of his first seven seasons, he had double digit touchdowns. In all but one of those years, he had over 1,000 yards.
But when the question “what have you done recently?” is asked, the answer is not pretty. Here are the simple stats. 2014: 75 yards, 3.6
2014: 75 yards, 3.6 avg. in one game before his suspension. 2015: Led the league in yards rushing, 1,485 yards, and touchdowns, 11, while averaging 4.5 YPC. 2016: three games, 72 yards, 0 TDs, and 1.9
2015: Led the league in yards rushing, 1,485 yards, and touchdowns, 11, while averaging 4.5 YPC. 2016: three games, 72 yards, 0 TDs, and 1.9
2016: three games, 72 yards, 0 TDs, and 1.9 avg.
The biggest worry is that 1.9 yards per carry. Of all players who registered a carry this year in the NFL, Peterson ranks 144 out of 155. That is also 4 out of 4 of Vikings with 20 or more carries (Sam Bradford averaged 2.7 on 20 carries).
Debate all you want about just how terrible the Viking’s O-line is, but it was relatively constant all year. You would expect Adrian Peterson to get a better average than both Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata. The counter to that would be saying that teams keyed in on AP early this season when Shaun Hill and a fresh Bradford where under center.
But did you see that Colt’s game? Bradford was well established as a short passer at that point, and teams were respecting that more. In his return from injury, Peterson had one run of more than three yards. That run ended with the ball on the ground.
As great as it would be for the Vikings to retain Peterson, there is no point in handcuffing themselves finically to an aging running back.
Hypothetical time. The Vikings part ways with Peterson, opening up that $18 million. Say $9 million heads to get a new running back (Thomas Rawls or CJ Prosise), and the rest to the offenseive line. Free agent Matt Kalil needs a new deal. Sebastian Vollmer from the Patriots will also be a free agent. The right tackle from Germany was injured this year, but could help fill the gaps in the line.
Another option, Peterson restructures the contract, and halves the cap hit. That $9 million for either of those two backs, the heir of the Viking backfield.
That money is a serious enough amount, even in the cash-rich NFL. If the Vikings want to compete moving forward, they will need more than just Adrian Peterson. As great as the narrative would be for him to stay in Minneapolis, a lot of work needs to get done for that to be the case.